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Marriage and Re-Marriage
The Sinai Covenant and The New Covenant
by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, September 2016
last edited August 10, 2022
Scripture from the NKJV unless otherwise noted
NEW COVENANT? or RENEWED COVENANT?
Did Yeshua Messiah make (or promise) an entirely “new covenant” with the faithful?
Or was the Sinai Covenant simply renewed with the faithful of Israel?
What Covenant do followers of Jesus Christ live under today?
If there is a “new” covenant, what are the terms of that covenant?
When did (or will) that “new covenant” go into effect?
THE FIRST COVENANT
Deuteronomy 4:13 “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.”
Exodus 24:7 “Then he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.’ And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.’”
NOTE: This was a blood covenant!
THE NEW COVENANT
Jeremiah 31:31 “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD.
33 ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” (NAS)
1. Both the “first covenant” and the “new covenant” are made WITH Israel. To come under the New Covenant, Gentiles who are not descended from Jacob, must be “grafted in” TO Israel through faith in Yeshua Messiah.
2. Both the “House of Israel” and the “House of Judah” BROKE the “first covenant” rebelliously and without repentance. The penalty was death.
The LORD provided the means by which an Israelite could be forgiven for trespasses against the Covenant. The sacrificial system was an acted prophecy pointing forward to the death of Christ, and His ministry as High Priest of Israel.
History Note: The 10 Northern Tribes split off after the death of Solomon. They called themselves “the House of Israel.” They were defeated by Assyria and dispersed into slavery throughout the Assyrian Empire. The 2 Southern Tribes (plus many refugees from the North who did not want to live under king Jeroboam’s pagan idolatry) were called Judah.
3. Before the LORD can make a new covenant with both Judah and Israel, He will need to resurrect all of the faithful from both kingdoms, then gather them together, then unite the two kingdoms under one King, to form ONE Israel. This alone should tell us that this “new covenant” is future. It will not be fully realized until the Kingdom of Messiah’s reign on the earth. (See Ezekiel 36:24-28.)
4. The terms of this “new covenant” are: “I will put My law within them, and write it on their heart.” But what Law? Is it the same Law of Ten Commandments? Is it changed in any way? Does it include all the commands given to Israel through Moses? These are questions for other studies. See our Covenant Studies page.
In this study we will tackle the question of whether the future “covenant” of Jeremiah 31, is entirely “new” or is simply “renewed.”
WHY A NEW COVENANT?
Hebrews 8:7-13 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says:
‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them,’ says the LORD.”
1. Notice that the “new covenant” is a “second” covenant. It is NOT a “renewal” of the first covenant. This according to the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, who calls the Covenant of Mt Sinai, “the first covenant” (Heb 8:7, 9:1, 9:15, 9:18), and writes that Christ Himself, in speaking of a “new covenant,” made the “first covenant” “obsolete” (Heb 8:13).
2. Both Israel (the 10 Northern tribes) AND Judah (the 2 Southern tribes) are included in the words, “they did not continue in My covenant.” They left the Covenant much as a wife may leave her husband.
HOW CAN THE LORD
LEGALLY END HIS COVENANT WITH ISRAEL?
Answer: The LORD did not break that Covenant. Israel and Judah did.
Hebrews 8:7-13 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.’”
In the Ancient Middle Eastern context, a covenant - once “broken,” was regarded as legally ended. The party who “broke” covenant, would suffer the “curse” of that covenant, usually death. The descendants of the offending party could later enter in to a “new” covenant with the righteous party, but this very seldom happened. More usually a blood feud would ensue, with each side accusing the other.
The LORD was legally justified to exact the death “curse” of the Covenant, but He provided the means by which an Israelite of any station might find reconciliation. Through the “sin offering,” he could be declared guiltless in regard to the Covenant with Yahweh. He could then declare his intention to keep the Covenant, through the “whole burnt offering.” It was a dedication of his whole life, to Yahweh.
The aggrieved party to a broken covenant, was legally allowed to exact vengeance or penalty - the “curse” of that covenant, upon the guilty party. (The “curse” of a “blood covenant” was death.) If he chose to forgo any vengeance, he would loose honor.
The LORD of the Sinai Covenant did NOT set aside the “curse” of that covenant. He allowed the “curse” to fall on His own Son (a sinless Israelite). Those “in Christ” have died with Him, in the eyes of God. The LORD can enter in to a “new covenant” with “new” people. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into [His] death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4).
The New Covenant will be far better because the LORD has promised to write His law on our hearts, not just on Tablets of Stone.
THE FIRST COVENANT WAS A MARRIAGE COVENANT
Israel was not married to the Law. She was betrothed to the pre-incarnate Son of God, who entered in to a betrothal covenant with her, and led her through the wilderness to the “land promised.” (See study: “The Mediator” for references showing that the Son of God lead Israel through the wilderness.)
Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
The Son of God created all things, including this earth and our heavens (Jn 1:1-3, Jn 1:10, Col 1:15-17, Heb 1:1-2). He is the Redeemer, who paid the “redemption price” for Israel.
Jeremiah 3:14 “‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you.”
Jeremiah 2:1-3 “Thus says the LORD: I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness . . .”
This is why the LORD said that He regarded idolatry - the worship of another “god” -
as adultery towards Him.
In the Ancient Middle Eastern context, the betrothal was the binding marriage covenant. Adultery during this period of betrothal, was punishable with death. The future groom of this covenant was called the “husband” and the bride was called “his betrothed wife.”
Jeremiah 31:32 “the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.”
Ezekiel 16:32 “You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband.”
Ezekiel 16:38 [Speaking of Jerusalem] “I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy.”
THE LORD DIVORCED ISRAEL [the 10 Northern Tribes]
Jeremiah 3:8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”
Isaiah 50:1 [Speaking to Israel] “Thus says the LORD: ‘Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? . . . And for your transgressions your mother has been put away.’”
Hosea 2:2 “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband!”
THE LORD DID NOT DIVORCE JUDAH
Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”
IMPORTANT: The LORD could certainly have“divorced” Judah also, but if He had “divorced” the remaining 2 tribes, then Yeshua the Messiah could not have been “born under the law” - born under Covenant of Sinai (Galatians 4:4).
1. He could not then have fulfilled the terms of that covenant, perfectly!
2. He could not then have been the perfect “curse” victim for Israel.
3. He could not then “inherit the land.” The inheritance was based upon the covenant, and fulfilling the terms of that covenant - perfect obedience.
The LORD saved “a remnant” of Judah called the “good figs,” by allowing them to be taken captive to Babylon. Seventy years after the first deportation to Babylon, descendants of that remnant returned to the land, and from one of those descendants came Yeshua the Messiah.
Christ was “born under” the blood covenant of Sinai, which He never broke (Gal. 4:4). He fulfilled every condition of that covenant. He kept “the Law” perfectly - therefore the LORD can give to Him all of the promises of that first covenant - which include possession of “the land.”
We who belong to Christ by faith,
will share in His promised “inheritance,”
because we are “betrothed to Him” by a New Covenant.
As the chosen and anointed “King of Israel,” Yeshua can forgive “the debt” which others incurred - the “sins committed under the first covenant” (Heb. 9:5). He can also bring “other sheep” into His “one fold” - Israel redeemed.
JUDAH WAS FINALLY WIDOWED
Isaiah 54:4 [The LORD speaks to Jerusalem] “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.” (NAS)
NOTE: A widow without a son, suffered “reproach” in Ancient Judea and the Ancient Middle East.
QUESTION: When was Jerusalem widowed?
ANSWER: When her betrothed “husband” died on a cross.
Jerusalem (symbol for Israel) was left a “widow” with no “husband” and no “son.” Yet the LORD says to her, “your husband is your Maker.” The woman will be married again, this time to her “Maker.” Paul certainly knew this passage.
SHE COULD MARRY ANOTHER MAN
When her “husband” died, what remained of Israel was released from that “first” covenant of marriage. She could then “marry” - “another man.”
Paul writes that we who believe are “grafted in” TO Israel.
He also writes that we are “betrothed” to the risen Christ.
The risen Christ is the new husband.
He is “the kinsman redeemer” who marries the widow.
In Ancient Israel, a widow would be married to the man nearest of kin to her dead husband. This man would “redeem” both the widow and the land inheritance of his kin. Sons of the marriage would be legally regarded as the sons of her dead husband, to carry on his name and to inherit his land. The story of Boaz’ marriage to Ruth is such a story.
Romans 7:1 “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
3 So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man.
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law [in the eyes of the Law] through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead” (NAS).
The RISEN Christ is called “another” man.
The woman (Israel) was married to The Lord, who led them through the wilderness.
She was married by the Sinai Covenant.
The “husband” of that “first covenant” was incarnated, and then died on a cross.
The “first covenant” of marriage was thereby rendered “obsolete.”
The woman was then free to marry “another” man.
The “new covenant” is also a marriage covenant. We are now “betrothed” to “Him who was raised from the dead.” The wedding feast has not yet taken place, nor the consummation, but we ARE presently living under a “new covenant” of marriage to Yeshua Messiah.
A NEW “MARRIAGE”
REQUIRES A “NEW” MARRIAGE COVENANT
Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,”
Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
Revelation 19:9 “Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
2 Corinthians 11:2 [Paul] “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
The word translated “church” is the word for “congregation,” as used through the Torah to describe the entire camp of Israel.
Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
Isaiah 54 describes a glorious City - the New Jerusalem.
The “bride” of the Lamb, is the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-10). Isaiah the prophet, said that Jerusalem “will forget the shame of her widowhood,” when she is married to her “kinsman redeemer” (Isaiah 54:4-5).
Chapter 54 follows immediately after 53, where the suffering and death of “the Servant” is described. Do you see it? Israel was “married” to the LORD by the Sinai Covenant. At His death, Jerusalem (with all of Israel) was “widowed.” After His resurrection, the New Jerusalem (with all her future citizens) was “betrothed” to the risen LORD. This betrothal IS “the New Covenant.”
Believers now live under this NEW betrothal covenant.
Paul told Gentile believers at Corinth that they were “betrothed to Jesus Christ” (2Cor. 11:2). This means that all believers in Christ - regardless of national or ethnic origin - are “betrothed” to Jesus. We are “grafted in” to Israel - by faith. And we are betrothed - by faith.
Hosea 2:19-20 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD.”
These words were spoken to Israel (as the 10 Northern tribes) by the LORD through the prophet Hosea. He denounces Israel for her adultery and harlotry. He gives her a “certificate of divorce” and calls her name “Not-My-People.” But then He gives her words of comfort, saying that He will win her back, and will yet marry her again.
In Romans 9:25-26, Paul applies the words spoken to Hosea, to the Gentiles who were coming to faith. Israelites from the 10 Tribes were scattered into “the nations,” and people from “the nations” were coming to faith in Messiah.
Revelation 21:9-10 “‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God . . .”
Only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter there - the “nations of those who are saved” (Revelation 21: 24, 27). In marrying the New Jerusalem, Yeshua is marrying all of her citizens.
Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Isaiah 54:1 “‘Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,’ says the LORD.” (NAS)
The former Jerusalem is portrayed as a barren and desolate widow. She was left with “no son”(no promised one). Yet one day, the New Jerusalem will have more sons than the “woman” (Israel) who was betrothed to Yahweh at Mount Sinai.
I’m going to print some of Isaiah 54 for you, because it is a beautiful history and prophecy of Jerusalem - and the New Jerusalem.
Isaiah 54:7 “‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you.
8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ Says the LORD, your Redeemer. 10 ‘For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11 ‘O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. 14 In righteousness you shall be established; . . . 17 This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the LORD.”
Isaiah 62:4 “It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken,’ Nor to your land will it any longer be said, ‘Desolate’; But you will be called, ‘My delight is in her,’ And your land, ‘Married’; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married.” (NAS)
The New Jerusalem will cover the entire land area promised to Abraham’s Seed.
WHEN WILL THE WEDDING TAKE PLACE?
Luke 12:36 “. . . and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.”
When our LORD returns, he will come “from the wedding” - not for the wedding. The “wedding” - when King Yeshua Messiah was betrothed to the New Jerusalem, took place in Heaven. We are citizens of the New Jerusalem, therefore we are “betrothed” to Christ. “Our citizenship is in Heaven.” The wedding feast is yet to come.
Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . .”
Hebrews 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant . . .”
ANCIENT HEBREW MARRIAGE CUSTOM GIVES US A CLUE.
Marriage was contracted between the father of the bride to be, and the father of the groom - each accompanied by a “witness.” This betrothal was the binding marriage covenant! Adultery during the period of betrothal was punishable by death. The period of betrothal lasted about one year, during which time the groom would “prepare a place” for his bride (usually an apartment within the extended family compound). When this “home” was completed - the date was set for “the wedding.”
The ceremony was simple. The groom’s attendant lifted the veil from the bride’s face. Draping it over the shoulder of the groom he pronounced, “The government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6). The bride then accompanied her husband back to his family home, where the wedding feast, and consummation of the marriage, took place. (Gower, Ralph, The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, Moody Press, Chicago, pg65.; Alexander, P.T., The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible, Reader’s Digest, pg.166.)
Israel’s betrothal to God’s Son, took place at Mt Sinai. God the Father is “the father” of His only begotten Son. He is therefore, the father of the groom. God’s Son is the “father” of the bride, because He created all things. In Isaiah 9:6, God’s Son is called “the everlasting father” as well as “the prince of peace.” Moses acted as mediator, because the people were afraid to hear God speaking to them.
The New Covenant betrothal took place in Heaven after Yeshua ascended. He is both the Father of the Bride and the Groom. God the Father is the father of the Groom.
All believers are now betrothed to the risen Christ. The “wedding feast” is yet to come. We know that “marriage supper” will take place in Heaven - in the Father’s House. Yeshua will come to take us back with Him, to His Father’s House.
Revelation 19:9 “Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
THE LAW - CONCERNING THE MARRIAGE OF PRIESTS
The Tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the Feasts, and all of the laws concerning them, were a prophecy of Jesus Christ - His ministry, death, and priesthood.
A high priest of Israel was forbidden to marry a widow, a woman defiled by idolatry, a harlot, or one who had been divorced. Israel was all of these.
He also was forbidden to re-marry a former wife!
For Yeshua to “marry” Jerusalem, He would have to die - to become “another man.”
For Yeshua to “marry” Israel, He must restore His bride to a virginal state. This He will do! The 144,000 (a symbolic number) from every tribe of Israel are represented as virgins (Rev. 14:1-5).
Leviticus 21:14 [Concerning priests] “A widow or a divorced woman or a defiled woman (by any sex outside of marriage) or a harlot-- these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife.”
The LORD called Israel a “harlot” and said that Judah was worse, because she did not amend her ways even after the Northern tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria. The LORD had given Israel a “certificate of divorce.” Judah was widowed when her “husband” died. Both were defiled by idolatry.
In order to marry Jerusalem (the “daughter of His own people”) Yeshua Messiah must first wash away the record of her past. She would thus be returned to a virginal state. This is why the sins of Israel redeemed must be wiped out completely! This is why the “bride” is described as dressed in clean and bright linen. In Revelation 14, the 144,000 from every tribe of Israel are described as “virgins” and are dressed in white.
HOW COULD THE LORD RE-MARRY
THE ONE HE DIVORCED ?
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house . . . then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD . . .”
Jesus death has purged the records concerning “his bride” (repentant believing Israel). In the eyes of Heaven, she is a pure “virgin.” She is not a widow, much less a harlot.
Remember: Those “in Christ” (regardless of race or national origin)
are “grafted in” to Israel.
A “NEW COVENANT” ALLOWS FOR CHANGES
The priesthood is “changed” under the “new covenant,” from the order of Aaron to the “order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:12) - the order of the firstborn (the original order of the priesthood). This change necessitates the cessation of the animal sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple, because the Law required that every sacrifice be presented to a Levite/Aaronic priest at Jerusalem (Lev. 1:3, Deut. 12:5-7, 11-13, 26-27).
Yeshua the Messiah was/is our “one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb. 10:12). He has also become our High Priest ministering before the throne of God in Heaven. He will become our King/Priest to reign over the earth.
Hebrews 9:11 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.”
We have a priest. We have a Tabernacle. We have a sacrifice to present.
He is the “better” priest, and He has offered the “better blood.”
Hebrews 9:13-14 “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
“First Covenant” sacrifices only served to ceremonially “cleanse” the flesh, as part of the acted prophecy of Christ to come.
The perfect “New Covenant” Sacrifice, serves to cleanse the conscience.
BELIEVING GENTILES ARE “GRAFTED IN”
TO ISRAEL REDEEMED - THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
Romans 11:13-24 “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I [Paul] am an apostle to the Gentiles . . .” “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree . . .”
The “root” of the tree “is holy” and “nourishes you.” That “root” is Christ. “We are rooted and grounded in Him” (Colossians 2:6-7; Isaiah 11:10). Paul states clearly that Gentiles who have come to faith in Jesus as Messiah, are “grafted in” to the Olive Tree. They have been adopted by the Father, in Christ. They are made Israelites - not because of race or because of physical circumcision, but through faith.
Jeremiah 11:16-17 “The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit, with the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, and its branches are broken.” (See also, Jeremiah 5:10-11.)
In referring to Israel as the Olive Tree, Paul is pointing his readers to the above passage, written by Jeremiah the prophet just before the Babylonian destruction of Judah.
Ephesians 2:11-22 [Paul - writing to Gentile believers] “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh [meaning uncircumcised] . . . that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.
To be “without Christ” is to be an “alien” from Israel, is to be a “stranger from the covenants of promise,” is to be without hope and without God. Let that sink in. Only those who are “grafted in” to Israel will be saved forever in the Kingdom of Messiah. ONLY Israel will be saved. Paul said it, “All Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26), when He has purged ungodliness from Jacob.
Ephesians 2:11-22 [continued] “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity . . .
For through Him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.”
He does not say that believing Gentiles are “made near” because they are physically circumcised and have agreed to abide by all the Laws of the Torah - including the sacrifice of animals. No. They “have been made near by the blood of Christ.”
The law (contained in ordinances) which excluded Gentiles from association with Israelites is “the enmity.” It literally became a dividing “wall” - forbidding Gentiles entrance into the Temple courtyard (something never commanded by the LORD).
In the passage, Paul is speaking specifically of those commandments which forbade the association of Israelites with uncircumcised non-Israelites (Exo. 23:32, 34:12; Ezra 9:12; Neh. 13:25; John 4:9, 18:28).
In the time of Christ, there were only two kinds of people, so far as the Jews were concerned - circumcised law keepers, and uncircumcised Gentiles (also called aliens, strangers, peoples or the nations). Jews regarded themselves as Israelites and everyone else as “aliens” from God. (See Lev. 17:8,10,13; Deut. 24:14; 2Chron. 2:17; Joel 3:17; Jer. 9:16, 10:2, 10:25.) In Christ, the “strangers and foreigners” are made “fellow citizens” of “the commonwealth of Israel.”
John 10:16 [Yeshua speaking] “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [Israel]; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”
The “one flock” will be Israel, and the “One Shepherd” - Yeshua Messiah.
Ephesians 3:6 “. . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel . . .”
Christ has abolished “the law contained in ordinances” which commanded the separation of Israelites (the circumcised) from Gentiles (the uncircumcised). This was the message to Peter in the vision of Acts Chapter 10. The angel said to Peter,“What God has cleansed you must not call common (unclean).” Just then the servants of Cornelius (a Gentile) knocked at the door. Later when he was criticized for eating with “uncircumcised men” (Gentiles), Peter told them of the vision and of how the Holy Spirit had been poured upon believing Gentiles also. Believers of any blood, or nationality may now become “partakers of the covenants of promise.”
ARE THE TEN COMMANDS OF THE “FIRST” COVENANT
RETAINED IN THE “NEW” MARRIAGE COVENANT?
Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”
Romans 4:15 “Where there is no law - there is no transgression.”
If the Law of God has been abolished completely then no one today would be guilty of sin, no matter what their behaviors or thoughts. No one today would need forgiveness. We need to remember that we are “betrothed to one husband” - even Yeshua Messiah. He will write His Law on our hearts. He will win us completely to Himself. Why would He desire something different, in terms of behavior, from His beloved - the second time around?
I Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from every form of evil.”
How would we know “evil” except that we have the Torah.
I Corinthians 7:19 “. . . keeping the commandments of God is what matters.”
Romans 6:15 “. . . to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death or of obedience to righteousness.”
The Law defines sin. “Sin is the transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4).
Romans 6:1 “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!”
Paul lists such things as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, selfish ambitions, envy, murders, and drunkenness. He says that such will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19).
In order to define “fornication” one must go to the Torah (the Law of Moses), because the word “fornication” literally means “unlawful sex.” Without “the Law” to define “lawful,” there can be no “un-lawful.”
Idolatry is mentioned quite often in Paul’s letters, along with strong words against blasphemy, adultery, homosexual acts, stealing, bearing false testimony, extortion, murder, disobedience of parents and coveting - all of which “sins” are covered in the Torah.
Romans 13:9-10 “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
See our study: “The Ten Commandments - in The New Testament.”
I wanted to make sure my readers understand that I am NOT setting aside the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, I believe they will be written on our hearts.
Our “betrothed” is Yeshua Messiah - the Son of God. He is the Lord who led Israel out of Egypt. He is the One who will one day write His law on “our” hearts. This was His plan from the beginning. He has not changed. “His law” is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Why would we think that His “new” everlasting covenant would result in different moral behavior from that enjoined upon His “first” betrothed wife?
Everyone agrees that idolatry, the worship of “other gods,” blasphemy, disrespect of parents, murder, adultery, stealing, false witness and coveting are condemned by the first century writers. The one real “bone of contention” is the Sabbath of the 7th day.
WILL THE “BRIDE” KEEP THE SABBATH
IN THE KINGDOM OF HER BELOVED ?
Exodus 31:16 “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.”
This was “His law” and it will be written on our hearts.
Isaiah 66:22-23 “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Jehovah, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah.” (ASV)
The LORD declared the 7th Day holy at the end of creation week. He established the weekly cycle for 40 years, through the wilderness. He wrote the 4th Commandment in stone with His own finger. He has never declared a different day holy. He kept the 4th Commandment when He walked on this earth. He commanded that Israel “remember” that day. Those “in Christ” are “grafted in” TO Israel, therefore all believers of the New Covenant will remember His Day, with rest.
IT’S NOT ABOUT DNA
Lastly I want to repeat clearly, that citizenship in New Jerusalem - the “new” bride of Christ, is NOT about having the right DNA or ancestry. Any human being, regardless of genetic bloodline, may be “grafted in” to Israel, through faith in Yeshua Messiah. He then becomes a partaker of the covenants and the promises.
See our study: “Who are Israel?“
WHAT IS DIFFERENT - UNDER THE “NEW” COVENANT?
1. The priesthood has been changed
- from Aaronic to Melchizedek, the priesthood of the firstborn (Heb. 7:11-12).
2. The ministry of our High Priest is presently at the True Tabernacle - Heaven itself, which means the system of animal sacrifices is now ended.
See our study: “The End of Sacrifices.”
3. Real forgiveness of sin - and cleansing of the conscience, is provided - through the blood of THE Lamb of God (Heb. 7:22, 27).
4. Messiah has been “glorified” and has poured out His spirit, giving power for witness to those who believe in His resurrection.
Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
5. Gentiles who come to faith in Christ are “grafted in” to the “commonwealth of Israel” and can be “filled with the holy spirit” WITHOUT prior physical circumcision (Rom. 11, Eph. 2).
6. Those of Hebrew descent who do not believe in Yeshua, are “broken off” from Israel redeemed. Can they be forgiven, and “betrothed” to the One they rejected?
Yes. They can be “grafted in again,” IF they come to believe (Romans 11:23).
7. Ultimate victory over the presence and power of the Evil One is now assured. The risen Christ will return one day very soon. The dead in Christ will be raised to everlasting life, and the wicked dead will be raised to judgment and “everlasting condemnation.”
8. Finally the New Jerusalem will come down from Heaven, and God will dwell with men.
THERE REALLY IS A “NEW” COVENANT.
We are betrothed to our risen Messiah. Under this “new” covenant of marriage, we have a new High Priest, and a perfect sacrifice whose blood was presented at the “true Tabernacle - heaven itself.” The remedy for sin has been perfected, and the “bride” will be perfected when His Law is written on her heart forever.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.